By Steve Kopitz
When shopping for a ski or snowboard helmet, the most important decision you will make is the size you need. While this selection may seem simple, sizing for a helmet is of the utmost importance for several reasons. First, you should understand that if a helmet does not fit, it serves no purpose. If a helmet does not fit comfortably, it will not be worn. If a helmet is not worn, the likelihood for injury is increased considerably during activities like skiing or snowboard. Know your size already? You can shop skis.com for snowboard helmets and ski helmets.
Step 1: What You Need to Measure the Circumference of Your Head
Correctly sizing for a helmet is a relatively simple process. The first step involves measuring the circumference of your head. The best way to do this is to use a fabric tape measure that can easily wrap around your head. Obtaining this measurement will not only ensure that you aren’t wasting your money, but also ensure that the helmet will provide maximum safety for the user.
If you do not have a fabric measuring tape there are additional ways to measure head circumference. The first is by using our printable measuring tape. Simply print out this page and cut out the three parts of the measuring tape. Next, tape the ends together, making sure you match up A-to-A and B-to-B.
Another way is to use a piece of string and then measure the length that you have determined with a standard measuring tape.
Once you have determined how you will measure your head you can then determine your head circumference.
Step 2: Measuring Head Circumference
Using the fabric tape measure (or other measuring device), wrap the tape around the user’s head to measure the circumference. Place the tape just above the eyebrows, making sure that any hair that may be coming down over the forehead is out of the way. Make sure the tape is tight and take the measurement from the point of overlap. This measurement is the circumference of the head and will help you determine the helmet size that is necessary.
Step 3: Determining the Helmet Size Based on Circumference
The circumference measurement will now be used to determine the helmet size that is needed. Sizing measurements will vary from one brand to the next, which is why the head circumferences is very important. Most helmet manufacturers will list their sizing in centimeters (cm). Others will simply use the standard Small, Medium, Large indication. This complicates matters because the Small, Medium, Large indicator does not always offer the circumference measurement for proper fitting. Further complicating this process for you is that a Small in one brand may not be sized the same by another brand.
To help clear up the confusion, take the circumference measurement and match it up to the appropriate brand’s sizing chart listed below. Whether you have measured in centimeters (cm) or inches (in), you can determine the size that is necessary. You will also be able to determine if you need a Small, Medium, Large, etc. for that respective brand.
After you have made your purchase and received your helmet, you will want to check to make sure the helmet fits properly. This can be done by simply following the steps outlined below.
Putting on the Helmet: Place the front of the helmet just above the eyebrow line. While holding either the ear covers or helmet straps, roll the helmet over the back of the head.
Check for Gaps: All padding from the helmet should be flush against the head. The ear covers or cheek padding should also fit closely. The back of the helmet should fall around the hairline, but not reach the nape of the neck.
Twist Testing: Once the helmet is on, fasten the chin strap and make certain everything is snug. Hold the helmet and try to roll if off the back of the head. If the skin on the forehead is being moved then the helmet fits properly. Additionally, twisting the helmet side-to-side should cause the head to turn and not allow the helmet to twist on the head.
If the helmet passes these simple requirements then you have found a properly fitting helmet. Many companies will also have a fine tuning system to help compensate for small changes in the padding. Tinker with this system before making a final determination on whether the helmet fits correctly.
Sizing measurements will vary from one brand to another, which makes it extremely difficult to compile one universal sizing chart. Additionally, how a company decides to indicate size to the consumer can also vary by brand. To help you better determine the proper helmet size that you need, we have compiled a number of sizing charts that are specific to helmet manufacturers. Whether you have a head circumference in centimeters (cm) or inches (in), you can determine the proper size you need.